as for ordinary farm and common labor. It soon became evident that from an economic point of view it paid to give the Negro just as high a degree of skill as possible--the more skill, the more dollars. When an ordinary slave sold for, say seven hundred dollars, a skilled mechanic would easily bring on the auction block from fourteen hundred to two thousand dollars. It is strangely true that when a black man would bring two thousand dollars a white man would not bring fifty cents.
As the slave grew in the direction of skilled labor, he was given an increased amount of freedom. This was practiced by some owners to such an extent that the skilled mechanic was permitted to "hire" his own time, working where and for whom he pleased, and for what wage, on condition that he pay his owner so much per month or year, as agreed upon. Not a few masters found that this policy paid better than the one of close personal supervision; many female slaves were trained not only in ordinary house duties, but on every large